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What does Apple think of open source?
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May 8, 2013, 07:16 PM
 
Or, if you prefer, what did Steve Jobs think of it?

I remember back in the day Jobs used open source to help market OS X. Webkit is clearly thriving in large part because of its open source roots and current existence. So, Apple has had some success in this realm, but it has been a mixed bag.

If you think Apple is not completely pro open source, will this stance affect them negatively? I think it might should Apple decide to grow in the area of web/cloud services...
     
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May 9, 2013, 12:20 PM
 
I think Apple's view of Open Source is the same as many companies' today: Open Source is great for things that are tangential to the company's success, and terrible for something that is its core. You're not going to see Google open source their search algorithms.
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May 10, 2013, 01:13 AM
 
Apple is about as open source as it gets.

Apple - Open Source
     
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May 10, 2013, 01:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by iMOTOR View Post
Apple is about as open source as it gets.

Apple - Open Source

Why do you say that?
     
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May 10, 2013, 06:33 AM
 
Apple uses Open Source for things where it suits them (e. g. Webkit, OpenCL, the block extension to C and many of the *nix services) and uses the closed-source model when it suits them (e. g. when they push new APIs).

There are a few instances where I'd hope that they push open standards even further (e. g. make their standards-based streaming protocol officially open or making the technologies that underlie FaceTime an open ITU standard). On the other hand, they're paying the developers of Clang/llvm and WebKit to contribute to OS projects full time. They're by no means the only one (Oracle comes to mind), but overall I think Apple has a healthy relationship to open source projects.
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May 10, 2013, 09:07 PM
 
P nailed it. I remember John Gruber making the exact same point years ago.
     
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May 10, 2013, 09:14 PM
 
WebKit isn't central to Apple?
     
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May 10, 2013, 09:48 PM
 
I think I disagree with all of you. Actually, let me rephrase that, I think you guys aren't thinking about this the way I am.

Open source stuff is sometimes complete products, but more often it is screws and nails used to build larger things. To say that open source isn't core to Apple is false, I think, unless you think Apple can do without a compiler or a BSD environment. However, maybe by this you mean that active development in these areas isn't core to Apple, which I would definitely agree with, with exception to WebKit.

What I think though is this... Open source policy isn't a checklist of how many things are open source. That Apple page that somebody linked to above is entirely useless, particularly since most users don't even touch things like Apache. Open support support also involves an attitude, a company strategy, and perhaps particular opinions about how technology best flourishes.

You guys probably make me out to be some sort of open source advocate. I'm not really. I think that some sorts of technology are best open - the ones that provide useful screws and nails for developers to build stuff, and the ones that establish standards and protocols for things to speak to one another are areas I generally feel are best open. I'm not a fan of many open source desktop applications or operating systems though, I don't advocate these things on some ideological basis.

The reason for this thread is because I think it's probably useful for tech companies to reassess these sorts of issues periodically. I've said for a while that I think that the path to many things Apple might want to do may very well involve the web and web services, which seem to be becoming more and more important. The web seems to naturally want things about it to be open. The tools that build and drive web applications are generally open, and open APIs can help web applications grow and be increasingly useful - particularly within business. For example, look at all of the stuff that is using Google Maps now in some way.

If Apple is going to get into some sort of TV thing, build upon iCloud, maybe even improve certain things about the iPhone and iOS, it is fathomable that their path will involve open source, or at least openness. The second part of this question in addition to what does Apple think of open source: what do developers and the open source community think of Apple? My sense is that developers that are making money from Apple's ecosystem are very happy, but other developers are cautious and cynical - the app store vetting system has been the sort of thing that I think has made this so, whether you are for or against it.

I'm undecided on Apple's future and its precise relationship with open source, but it seems more and more apparent that it is not particularly well understood by others either...
     
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May 10, 2013, 10:07 PM
 
To say that open source isn't core to Apple is false, I think, unless you think Apple can do without a compiler or a BSD environment.
I think you're confused as to what Apple's core business is.

Apple is a hardware company. Webkit is just a means to an end.

Google is an advertising company. Webkit is just a means to an end.

Opera is a software company. Webkit is just warding off impeding death.
     
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May 10, 2013, 10:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by lpkmckenna View Post
I think you're confused as to what Apple's core business is.

Apple is a hardware company. Webkit is just a means to an end.

Google is an advertising company. Webkit is just a means to an end.

Opera is a software company. Webkit is just warding off impeding death.

No, Apple's profit margins are with their hardware, but they can't really sell their hardware without software to run on them that differentiates them from the Windows world.
     
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May 10, 2013, 11:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
No, Apple's profit margins are with their hardware, but they can't really sell their hardware without software to run on them that differentiates them from the Windows world.
You're exactly right!

Well, except replace "profit margins" with "almost every penny of revenue."

Apple sells quality hardware, which they differentiate from competitor's quality hardware with quality software.

You know what quality software sells by itself? Ask Opera.
     
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May 11, 2013, 12:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
For example, look at all of the stuff that is using Google Maps now in some way.
Google Maps (as in the service) is not open nor are data and algorithms open source. I think you have picked the wrong example.
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I'm undecided on Apple's future and its precise relationship with open source, but it seems more and more apparent that it is not particularly well understood by others either...
From your posts, all I get is diffuse criticism but no clear direction you think Apple should take. Should Apple open source Cocoa and Cocoa Touch? Or are you advocating a system where Apple's content ecosystem is open so that Roku and other set-top manufacturers can plug into it? That's not in Apple's own interest and I don't think we can expect any company to make such a move.
Originally Posted by lpkmckenna View Post
P nailed it. I remember John Gruber making the exact same point years ago.
I see this a bit more nuanced: there are a lot of technologies which are central to Apple's software (e. g. clang/llvm, the various BSD underpinnings and tools as well as WebKit) but are open source. The main reasons to me are two-fold and quite simple to understand:
(1) Apple benefits from wide adoption of these technologies.
(2) The developmental direction of these technologies is »clear« and thus, community participation is channeled in the right direction(s).

Let's use WebKit (which IMO is a core interest to Apple) as an easy example, although you can make similar points with clang/llvm:
(1) Wide distribution means that all websites these days are checked against WebKit, and thus, webpages just work on Macs and iPhones. Apple benefits from other projects and OSes using WebKit since it increases the user base.
(2) The main directions for WebKit's development are implementing the html5 specs, speeding up rendering and java script execution as well as keeping WebKit secure. Most of these points are in some sense straight-forward and since the html5 specs are open, it's clear what direction Apple will take.

Cocoa/Cocoa Touch does not benefit from (1) and (2): these are not meant to be used anywhere but in Apple's own products and everything about them is proprietary.
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May 11, 2013, 01:40 AM
 
I doubt any company will participate/donate projects to opensource if it effects their bottom line negatively. IMHO, Apple and Google's cooperation in WebKit (and other projects over the past decade) was a deliberate strategy to counter the then defacto standard... Microsoft. With The BSD and *NIX stuff of OSX I would suspect that it would be a legal fiasco for them to try and change that to closed source.

Worth noting is that WITHOUT companies like Apple and Google, those projects would likely be as successful as Linux is (~1% marketshare i think, and still a ghastly mess for end users after 20+ years).

Or a more contemporary example being, HP putting WebOS 'out to pasture' in the opensource field. (effectively leaving it for dead).
     
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May 11, 2013, 01:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by lpkmckenna View Post
You're exactly right!

Well, except replace "profit margins" with "almost every penny of revenue."

Apple sells quality hardware, which they differentiate from competitor's quality hardware with quality software.

You know what quality software sells by itself? Ask Opera.

Opera is quality software?
     
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May 11, 2013, 01:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Google Maps (as in the service) is not open nor are data and algorithms open source. I think you have picked the wrong example.
I know, but the API is open.

From your posts, all I get is diffuse criticism but no clear direction you think Apple should take. Should Apple open source Cocoa and Cocoa Touch? Or are you advocating a system where Apple's content ecosystem is open so that Roku and other set-top manufacturers can plug into it? That's not in Apple's own interest and I don't think we can expect any company to make such a move.
I don't think any of those paths make sense for Apple, the paths that make the most sense to me are in web/cloud services, but even then I'm undecided as to where I would predict Apple going there. However, the entire computing industry is headed there, so I can't help thinking that Apple will eventually want to become more involved.

I could be completely wrong on this, but when iCloud came out I figured this was the start of something pretty big. Maybe what we see now of iCloud is all it will be, but it seems like there is a tremendous amount of untapped potential there to affect lives and the overall experience of owning Apple stuff. There is so much more stuff that can be synced to iCloud for starters, but maybe services like Siri and Apple Maps will play a bigger role too - particularly Siri? Siri could licensable to a whole range of other products ushering in a new generation of search? Just spitballing here a little...

I see this a bit more nuanced: there are a lot of technologies which are central to Apple's software (e. g. clang/llvm, the various BSD underpinnings and tools as well as WebKit) but are open source. The main reasons to me are two-fold and quite simple to understand:
(1) Apple benefits from wide adoption of these technologies.
(2) The developmental direction of these technologies is »clear« and thus, community participation is channeled in the right direction(s).

Let's use WebKit (which IMO is a core interest to Apple) as an easy example, although you can make similar points with clang/llvm:
(1) Wide distribution means that all websites these days are checked against WebKit, and thus, webpages just work on Macs and iPhones. Apple benefits from other projects and OSes using WebKit since it increases the user base.
(2) The main directions for WebKit's development are implementing the html5 specs, speeding up rendering and java script execution as well as keeping WebKit secure. Most of these points are in some sense straight-forward and since the html5 specs are open, it's clear what direction Apple will take.

Cocoa/Cocoa Touch does not benefit from (1) and (2): these are not meant to be used anywhere but in Apple's own products and everything about them is proprietary.
I agree with all of this!
     
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May 11, 2013, 02:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by Hawkeye_a View Post
Worth noting is that WITHOUT companies like Apple and Google, those projects would likely be as successful as Linux is (~1% marketshare i think, and still a ghastly mess for end users after 20+ years).
I think you mean Desktop Linux here, but it kind of bugs me when people say stuff like this without more specificity.

If Linux is simply a kernel (which is one definition), when you add in Android devices the marketshare is much greater than 1%. When you divide up the 1% into specific spaces, Linux is more than 1% of the server space. There has been a lot of chatter about Desktop Linux for years, but its big backers are far more interested in using it in the server space, which you could say it was designed for. Therefore, citing overall marketshare including operating systems designed for other purposes seems like an apples vs. oranges comparison to me.
     
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May 11, 2013, 02:23 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I know, but the API is open.
The API is worthless without the service, so I don't think it's apt to call Google Maps open.

If you view the Google Maps API through the glasses of my previous post, it makes complete sense for Google to share the API, but keep Google Maps (as in the service) to itself: Google profits from generating traffic to its sites (roughly speaking), so the more people use Google Maps, the better.

However, it's also clear why they don't share things like GFS2 and their search engine-related code. (People quickly forget that about Google )
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I don't think any of those paths make sense for Apple, the paths that make the most sense to me are in web/cloud services, but even then I'm undecided as to where I would predict Apple going there. However, the entire computing industry is headed there, so I can't help thinking that Apple will eventually want to become more involved.
I think parts of those issues are things where governments have to force companies' hands, e. g. we have benefitted greatly that you can buy any TV and plug it in since all TVs have to implement common standards. The government is way, way behind on technology, so I'm not holding out hope, but I wish they'd start with a common standard for IP (video) telefony and secure e-mail.
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May 11, 2013, 02:32 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
The API is worthless without the service, so I don't think it's apt to call Google Maps open.

If you view the Google Maps API through the glasses of my previous post, it makes complete sense for Google to share the API, but keep Google Maps (as in the service) to itself: Google profits from generating traffic to its sites (roughly speaking), so the more people use Google Maps, the better.
But this is not really my point...

The Google Maps API being open allows developers to do stuff incorporating Google Maps into their apps. There is the legal definition of open source, and the spirit of it, and I'm more interested in this case in the spirit of it. By "spirit of it", I don't mean to imply that I'm one of those people that believes that intellectual property should be free, I don't think anything should be anything, but Google has formed a relationship with developers with services like Google Maps that Apple might want to mimic should they ever want to allow developers to tap into Siri, iCloud, or whatever else. This is sort of the crux of what I'm getting at here, if this makes any sense?


However, it's also clear why they don't share things like GFS2 and their search engine-related code. (People quickly forget that about Google )
Isn't GFS2 Red Hat's property?

I think parts of those issues are things where governments have to force companies' hands, e. g. we have benefitted greatly that you can buy any TV and plug it in since all TVs have to implement common standards. The government is way, way behind on technology, so I'm not holding out hope, but I wish they'd start with a common standard for IP (video) telefony and secure e-mail.
That would be nice. Cost controls/regulation of the cell phone industry would be nice too, but I'm definitely in favor of standards development ala PCI credit card standards.
     
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May 11, 2013, 06:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
The Google Maps API being open allows developers to do stuff incorporating Google Maps into their apps. There is the legal definition of open source, and the spirit of it, and I'm more interested in this case in the spirit of it. By "spirit of it", I don't mean to imply that I'm one of those people that believes that intellectual property should be free, I don't think anything should be anything, but Google has formed a relationship with developers with services like Google Maps that Apple might want to mimic should they ever want to allow developers to tap into Siri, iCloud, or whatever else. This is sort of the crux of what I'm getting at here, if this makes any sense?
It does, but don't forget that the ONLY reason Google is doing this is because whoever incorporates maps into their software allows users to search something, or show some specific location. Google takes good money from businesses that wish to be prominently featured in such searches. That is arguably not the "spirit" of open source, since whatever you do with maps is gamed to provide a commercial advantage to Google's customers. It is not "free and equal".

I assume you're talking about making services/software accessible outside the Mac/iOS universe, yes? If so:
As has been said, Apple's services, by contrast, exist solely to drive sales of their hardware devices. It might be in their interest to open up those services/underlying architectures to as large a base as possible to improve their quality (maps comes to mind), but in many cases, I think Apple correctly assumes that their user base is large enough, and their own software engineering good enough, that maintaining a unique selling point trumps platform-independent distribution.
     
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May 11, 2013, 04:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
It does, but don't forget that the ONLY reason Google is doing this is because whoever incorporates maps into their software allows users to search something, or show some specific location. Google takes good money from businesses that wish to be prominently featured in such searches. That is arguably not the "spirit" of open source, since whatever you do with maps is gamed to provide a commercial advantage to Google's customers. It is not "free and equal".
What your describing seems more like the Stallman concept of open source (free and equal), but I'm not into that, and I think most people aren't.

I don't think open source is the enemy of money making at all. You're right about Google's motivations, but these sorts of money making motivations aren't necessarily a bad thing. Making stuff open is not necessarily some sort of charitable thing to help out the little guy, it can be a way to make your product better, more powerful, more profitable, and provide a means of political leverage.

I assume you're talking about making services/software accessible outside the Mac/iOS universe, yes? If so:
As has been said, Apple's services, by contrast, exist solely to drive sales of their hardware devices. It might be in their interest to open up those services/underlying architectures to as large a base as possible to improve their quality (maps comes to mind), but in many cases, I think Apple correctly assumes that their user base is large enough, and their own software engineering good enough, that maintaining a unique selling point trumps platform-independent distribution.
I'm not necessarily talking about extending stuff beyond the Mac/iOS universe, actually.

I think Apple needs to cast a wider net more often. You're right that their user base is large enough that they can make decent stuff focusing on the loyal Apple population, but platforms seem to be becoming less and less relevant as so-called cloud services continue to develop and as new devices proliferate. In years past making a switch from the Mac to Windows or vice versa created a lot of trepidation, but nowadays people switch between different kinds of phones and tablets without thinking too much and with different expectations attached, and it is easier to switch between desktop operating systems too if your workflow involves mostly platform agnostic tools such as Dropbox, the social networks, Google Drive, etc.

Examples of wider net casting:

- allowing third party iOS developers to use iCloud to sync stuff
- developing Siri further and trying to spread it to a much broader scope
- extending iCloud to stuff beyond the Mac/iOS universe (e.g. retrieval of Calendar data)
- extending iMessage (or is iMessage technically a part of iCloud?)
- if a TV product is developed, do what Apple did with iTunes right off the bat and make it of as much interest to non-Mac owners

All of these sorts of possibilities obviously bring up a number of economic questions as far as where money is made and how. These questions become complex because sometimes money is made indirectly, sometimes it makes sense to sell certain things at a loss for a while. Obviously these things need coherent business strategies.

However, I'm wondering if there will be a time when that Apple bubble starts to either grow or disintegrate, and if this is to happen, an open source and open API strategy will become increasingly important.
     
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May 11, 2013, 09:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I think you mean Desktop Linux here, but it kind of bugs me when people say stuff like this without more specificity.

If Linux is simply a kernel (which is one definition), when you add in Android devices the marketshare is much greater than 1%. When you divide up the 1% into specific spaces, Linux is more than 1% of the server space. There has been a lot of chatter about Desktop Linux for years, but its big backers are far more interested in using it in the server space, which you could say it was designed for. Therefore, citing overall marketshare including operating systems designed for other purposes seems like an apples vs. oranges comparison to me.
Yeah i was referring to the desktop OS. Although thanks for pointing out Android...... without Google I doubt Android would have become the 'product' it is today. (WebOS (among many others) had the Linux kernel as well.... and well.... nuff said).

Linux (or any other opensource project) on its own, without the "support"(investments) from large cooperations don't usually amount to much. I for one don't care much for Linux because it hasn't delivered any end products that remotely interests me. After 20+ years, the 'opensource' community, as large as it is, has not been able to deliver a coherent implementation of a desktop OS which appeals to end users over their closed source competitors. (Which then begs the question...'why') IMHO

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May 11, 2013, 10:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by Hawkeye_a View Post
Yeah i was referring to the desktop OS. Although thanks for pointing out Android...... without Google I doubt Android would have become the 'product' it is today. (WebOS (among many others) had the Linux kernel as well.... and well.... nuff said).

Linux (or any other opensource project) on its own, without the "support"(investments) from large cooperations don't usually amount to much. I for one don't care much for Linux because it hasn't delivered any end products that remotely interests me. After 20+ years, the 'opensource' community, as large as it is, has not been able to deliver a coherent implementation of a desktop OS which appeals to end users over their closed source competitors. (Which then begs the question...'why') IMHO

Cheers

Isn't that like criticizing an airplane for not being a car, or something like that? Linux is a server OS first and foremost, and whether this is of interest to you or not, it impacts your life on a day-to-day basis.
     
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May 12, 2013, 01:39 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
The Google Maps API being open allows developers to do stuff incorporating Google Maps into their apps. There is the legal definition of open source, and the spirit of it, …
This is most definitely not the definition or spirit of open source: If you wanted to, you could use Apple's map API on iOS instead of Google's. Apple, Google and Microsoft allow developers to use closed source APIs in their apps. In fact, having a rich API at disposal for developers to use is one of the main benefits of a good platform. But it has nothing to do with open or closed.
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
This is sort of the crux of what I'm getting at here, if this makes any sense?
Not to me, I honestly still don't understand what your main point is. From where I am, you're conflating several distinct issues.
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Isn't GFS2 Red Hat's property?
Version 2 of Google File System is certainly the property of Google, not Red Hat.
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May 12, 2013, 01:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Linux is a server OS first and foremost, and whether this is of interest to you or not, it impacts your life on a day-to-day basis.
Given the fact that it runs on hundreds of millions of phones and tablets, I wouldn't call it a server OS. (Although this was certainly Linux' first stronghold, deservedly so.)
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May 12, 2013, 02:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Given the fact that it runs on hundreds of millions of phones and tablets, I wouldn't call it a server OS. (Although this was certainly Linux' first stronghold, deservedly so.)

So, does stuff using the Linux kernel count as being Linux in your opinion?
     
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May 12, 2013, 03:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
This is most definitely not the definition or spirit of open source: If you wanted to, you could use Apple's map API on iOS instead of Google's. Apple, Google and Microsoft allow developers to use closed source APIs in their apps. In fact, having a rich API at disposal for developers to use is one of the main benefits of a good platform. But it has nothing to do with open or closed.
Maybe the problem here is the lack of clarity between closed/open source vs. open/closed APIs?

Not to me, I honestly still don't understand what your main point is. From where I am, you're conflating several distinct issues.
Just to make sure there is no further misunderstanding, do you realize that Google's APIs are all open/mostly open, regardless of whether you use their stuff? There are probably certain features that are unavailable, but any developer can interact with Google Calendar, for instance.

What I'm wondering about is whether Apple might enlarge their tent to do these same sorts of things with iCloud, Siri, iMessage, etc. and develop a similar relationship with their developers. As the barriers to platform adoption seem to be weakening, I'm wondering whether Apple might change their tactics particularly with web services, which seem to becoming increasingly important.

Is this clearer?
( Last edited by besson3c; May 12, 2013 at 04:10 AM. )
     
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May 12, 2013, 03:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
So, does stuff using the Linux kernel count as being Linux in your opinion?
Yes.

It may not be GNU/Linux, but it's Linux.
     
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May 12, 2013, 04:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Yes.

It may not be GNU/Linux, but it's Linux.

Which makes criticisms of Linux that have to do with GUI technically incoherent.

The question is kind of interesting though... An OS used to be just a kernel and maybe a couple of other things, but now OS X applications made by Apple and installed with OS X seem to be considered a part of the OS. I guess an OS includes all of this stuff now, but in the case of an OS like Ubuntu these apps are often made by totally different people and different apps are bundled with different Linux variants, so it doesn't seem right to refer to Linux as this big monolithic thing. The Gnome developers are to the Linux kernel guys what something like Final Cut might be to the core OS X stuff, only criticism of Final Cut is generally separated from OS X.

I'm not saying that the Linux desktop world doesn't suck, just that you can't really think of Linux the same way you think of OS X or Windows.
     
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May 12, 2013, 05:52 AM
 
Don't try to define what an OS is, that way lies madness. Linux is a kernel, ie one piece required to build an OS. Ubuntu is a distribution, which is an OS and potentially something more. An OS is something in between and far too loosely defined.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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May 12, 2013, 12:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Maybe the problem here is the lack of clarity between closed/open source vs. open/closed APIs?
No. In fact, for most developers, it doesn't matter whether the API they're using is open source, what matters is that the API is public (as opposed to private). People developing an iOS app involving maps don't eschew Apple's maps because the API is not open source, they most likely use Google Maps because the quality of the maps is better.
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Just to make sure there is no further misunderstanding, do you realize that Google's APIs are all open/mostly open, regardless of whether you use their stuff? There are probably certain features that are unavailable, but any developer can interact with Google Calendar, for instance.
It's funny that you mention Google Calendar, Google has just switched away from the open standard CalDav to something proprietary (CalDav support will stop in mid-September this year). To my eyes, Google is moving farther and farther away from the idea that they're open.

Honestly, it seems to me we have very different ideas of what open source actually is. Projects like WebKit, the Linux kernel and FreeBSD are open. Open source does not just mean the source code is available. The examples you've quoted (Google Maps and Google Calendar) are tied specifically to Google's services and become useless once Google decides to can it (that makes the open source API useless since it points to /dev/null ). If Google wanted to make it open, they could (and should) post all the source code so that interested parties can run »copies« of Google services on their own servers. That's definitely not something Google wants to do, all of their crown jewels (with the important exception of Android) are closed source (and that makes sense to me).
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May 12, 2013, 01:26 PM
 
I would consider APIs as only being public, not open source. If you do, technically, I think you could label products with an SDK as open source (MacOSX, Windows, Playstation 3, XBox 360, Facebook, Twitter...). Open source I would define as full access to the source code, not just the plug in (API) to use the service. I think there is a fine line between API and Open Source.
     
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May 12, 2013, 03:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
No. In fact, for most developers, it doesn't matter whether the API they're using is open source, what matters is that the API is public (as opposed to private). People developing an iOS app involving maps don't eschew Apple's maps because the API is not open source, they most likely use Google Maps because the quality of the maps is better.
What I'm calling open APIs you're calling public, and closed you're calling private, but we mean the same thing from the sounds of things.

It's funny that you mention Google Calendar, Google has just switched away from the open standard CalDav to something proprietary (CalDav support will stop in mid-September this year). To my eyes, Google is moving farther and farther away from the idea that they're open.
CalDAV seems to have been a failed standard, not a whole lot of adoption.

Honestly, it seems to me we have very different ideas of what open source actually is. Projects like WebKit, the Linux kernel and FreeBSD are open. Open source does not just mean the source code is available. The examples you've quoted (Google Maps and Google Calendar) are tied specifically to Google's services and become useless once Google decides to can it (that makes the open source API useless since it points to /dev/null ). If Google wanted to make it open, they could (and should) post all the source code so that interested parties can run »copies« of Google services on their own servers. That's definitely not something Google wants to do, all of their crown jewels (with the important exception of Android) are closed source (and that makes sense to me).
Again, swap out open for public.
     
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May 12, 2013, 05:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Which makes criticisms of Linux that have to do with GUI technically incoherent.
They're criticizing the available GUIs that run on top of Linux. The concision is convenient and unambiguous.
     
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May 12, 2013, 09:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
What I'm calling open APIs you're calling public, and closed you're calling private, but we mean the same thing from the sounds of things.
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Again, swap out open for public.
The distinction between public and private APIs is in accordance at least with Apple's use. Calling public APIs open as in open source is a misnomer IMHO.

In any case, trying to get back on topic, I think what is more important and more lacking at the moment are the adoption of open standards. The impending move to IP telephony (also on the backend) presents a chance to fix a common standard. FaceTime and GoogleTalk would be so much more useful if they were interoperable with even the cheapest Chinese smartphone and if you could call any landline with them (just like Skype, but without the wonky speech quality and fugly interface).

Another one would be the wide adoption of h.265 (the successor to h.264). Again, Google seems to want to throw a monkey wrench into the gears by developing its own video standard. Seeing as WebM was adopted by no-one (but Google's own youtube), it's effect was forcing people back to use Flash (we're in 2013!). The big supposed benefit compared to h.264 is that it offers the same image quality at half the bitrate. Seeing as Netflix is responsible for 1/3 of the internet traffic in the US during prime time, that's a lot of bits you could save -- or allocate towards higher quality.

However, I think one of the problems any (open or closed) standardization body is facing is that technology moves way too rapidly at the moment and at times fixing a standard is like catching a bullet in mid-flight.
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May 29, 2013, 07:18 PM
 
According to Cook, Apple will open things up a little more in the future... It will be interesting to see what happens here!
     
   
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